SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - Mychaela Lovelace of Southfield, Mich., was just five years old when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
"She kept coming home with bruises on her legs, her arms, and red dots," said Mychaela's mother, Eulalia Lovelace.
Doctors initially thought it was a rash, but when her parents pushed for answers, a test revealed the truth.
"He said, 'I have good news and bad news. The good news is she doesn't have leukemia, but she has something called aplastic anemia,'" said Lovelace.
Aplastic anemia is a disorder that prevents the bone marrow from making enough new blood cells.
Nearly 50 transfusions of platelets and red blood cells kept Mychaela alive, but she needed a bone marrow transplant to survive long-term.
Her parents and sister weren't a match, but fortunately, someone else was.
"They said, 'Guess what? We found an unrelated donor. Perfect match. Ten out of ten,'" said Lovelace. "That does not happen for minorities."
Mychaela is now 10 years old.
She said hearing the news was a turning point for her.
"When I found out that I was getting a bone marrow transplant, I started to have more happiness and believing that I was going to live," said Mychaela.
Mychaela's match was a 38 year-old father from Maryland. He joined the registry when he was in college.
"I think he's brave and he's smart that he did it. I think of him as an angel," said Mychaela.
Patients have the best chance of finding a bone marrow match with someone of the same race or ethnicity, but only 7 percent of the people on the Be The Match Registry are African American.
Mychaela's family desperately wants to encourage more minorities to join.
"It's time for us, as African Americans, to get together and save lives," said Eulalia Lovelace.
"You can save other peoples lives like a person saved my life," said Mychaela.
The Lovelace family says God and the prayers of their church family at Greater Grace Temple helped them make it through.
Mychaela still needs treatment every two months to help build up her immune system, but she has big plans for her future.
"I want to be a doctor and inspire other kids that you can have hope, even when it doesn't seem like it," said Mychaela.
On Saturday, at the 3rd Annual Michigan Marrow 5K Walk & Fun Run, Mychaela and her family will meet her donor for the first time. They have a special message for him.
"When I see him tomorrow, I'm just going to hug him and embrace him, because he saved my daughter's life, and he didn't have to. So I really appreciate him," said Eulalia Lovelace.
"Thank you for saving my life, and I'll never forget it," said Mychaela.
The 3rd Annual Michigan Marrow 5K Walk & Fun Run will be held Saturday, Aug. 10th at Stony Creek Metro Park. Registration starts at 8:00am. For details, click here.
You can join the Be The Match Registry at the event or online. Use the promo code: walk2013.
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